Power Struggles, Past and Present, at UMass

I have a new piece in the “Best of Boston” issue of Boston Magazine about UMass. There’s no question the roll out of the plan to reorganize UMass was terribly mishandled. But a longstanding culture of paranoia at UMass, where Abbie Hoffman and Amy Carter were once arrested for protesting CIA activity on campus, magnified an oversight in process into what one professor called “a midnight coup.”

The fights over the state’s university system are one of the few venues where the old regional conflicts that have plagued Masachusetts for years are still being fought out. You can actually trace the suspicion with which many on the Amherst campus view Boston to the “Shay’s Rebellion,” the pre-Constitution revolt of a Revolutionary War hero at taxes legislated in Boston through the flooding of several Hampden County towns for the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir, Boston’s water supply.

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